View Full Version : My first (and second) maps ever... critique welcomed

08-28-2012, 09:52 PM
Hi all,

I just finished de-lurking in the "welcome" forum with the vague implication that I might put up my first two semi-finished products. So here they are!

They are both heavily based on darklingrisen's tutorial for Gimp http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?14211-Fast-and-Easy-Artistic-Maps-in-the-GIMP. I looked into the theory regarding mountain placement, but it was a lot to take in for a first try so instead I poked about on google maps and found coastline near Anchorage, AK that looked kinda like what I wanted so I used that as a basis.

The second map expands on that (sorry, don't remember the links for the other tutorials at this time; I'll go back through and try to add it later). It has more details of one of the regions. I had a hard time getting the labels legible on this one, so the result was one of usability over aesthetics.

Lastly, I've been playing around with aged paper effects (creating old paper/parchment tutorial by Rob A... link to come later). I'll tone it down for a usable map, but not sure the best way to do that (drop some of the marks, lighten stuff, some weird filter option?).

Suggestions are welcomed. I'd like to know what parts are the best and which parts need the most work (if you see the same problems in both maps, then definitely feel free to point it out).

Thanks all!





08-28-2012, 10:36 PM
Well I do like the colors that you are using, nice and subdued.

I don't often pull out my River Police Badge, but you seem to have a problem with your rivers splitting on the way to the Sea. This almost never happens unless there is some unnatural reason. Water goes from high ground (Mountains and Hills) to the low ground (Seas and Oceans). They will join with other flows on the way there, maybe divert around a bit of harder ground (look up Montreal on google maps), but not split like your rivers do at both Ashadome and Rivercross. The reverse would be more likely with those cities at where the feeders join. Try drawing the rivers from the sea and have them split heading towards the sources, they would look much more believable that way. Just keep it balanced.

Another suggestion would be to not pack your trees so tight. The density makes the forests seem way too regular and "unbelievable".

That said, Like I said earlier, I do like where you are going.

***Edit*** As for lightening the parchment, you could always put it below the rest and change the opacity of the layer

08-28-2012, 11:19 PM
Thanks for the comments Korash. I see what you mean about the rivers. I can play around with that (I have them as a separate layer, so it's relatively easy to change).

For the trees, when I tried making them more separated it just looked weird. I either ended up with a packed forest or a desert with one lonely tree in it. I couldn't figure out how to find the middle ground between the two. Do you have any tips or links to good forest examples?

08-29-2012, 12:39 PM
I am not sure what prog you are using (suspect CC3) or if this is compatible, but do a search for Ramah's "Tree Thing". It is a nice little script which works with tree images to make forests. Works quite well IMHO. As for any tips, it would really depend on the prog....not that I am much of an expert on any of them either - there are much better people to ask around here- but try looking at the stroke frequency...or whatever controls the density of the brush/fill. For links, look through the Finished Maps or Cartographers Choice sections and you should find some that are using a simular style.

08-29-2012, 05:04 PM
Hello Seltsam1, the forum,

I sugess to change the color of the ground under the tree patche's; grass would be perfect; then the trees wouldn't look so alone.
By the way, I love the style of the map! It gives me idear on how to present my city and villages..but don't you worry, I won't copypast your work :)

08-29-2012, 06:07 PM
Hey, pretty nice job for your first couple of maps! Welcome to the Guild Seltsam.